American Airlines passenger used emergency slide to escape after spitting 

An American Airlines passenger who was convicted of simple assault aboard a flight that was due to take-off has been sentenced.  

Cynthia McKnight, 24, of Rochester, NY, in the United States (US) was on a flight from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF) to Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) on April 19, 2022, when she made her way to the front of the aircraft. 

The doors had been closed and the aircraft was waiting to depart, but McKnight began engaging in an argument with a passenger.  

The 24-year-old then spat at another passenger and the American Airlines crew decided they had no choice but to return to the gate.  

McKnight then tried to exit the aircraft as it was in motion on the ground, pushing a flight attendant who tried to prevent her from opening an aircraft door. 

Managing to open the door, despite protests from flight attendants, the emergency slide automatically deployed, and McKnight used it to exit the aircraft. 

Airport officials and the transportation authority managed to capture her on the tarmac, who she told she was drunk. 

According to reports the passenger was upset that the flight was delayed.  

McKnight was sentenced to time served and three years’ probation by US District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo

McKnight agreed to pay $42,128 (£34,073) as part of her sentence and plea agreement. 

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